IIA Magazine Feb 2016 Issue

This is the 75th year of the anniversary of the IIA.

Capturing the Moment. Experts from around the globe provide a snapshot of the profession, discussing key issues impacting IA. In the past, IA was more focused on hindsight, it is now more about foresight too. Often, some IA staff may want to move to other departments. It is critical to find a clear path ahead for IA. Some of them might just want to stay in the profession forever. There has a clear shift from compliance to risk based audits. It is also good to volunteer for the profession. Combined assurance is also becoming more widely used. Students should try to contact the industries and ask for challenging assignments on IA. IA should set aside a portion of their paycheck every month to attend training etc. Work objectives should be clear and there must be clear communication. IA can also provide assurance on the management of strategy risks. IA can also add value to process effectiveness.

A Career on Point. There are many more women in this profession. IA has matured and many have viewed this function more positively now. To some, IA seems interesting and challenging. It is good as it helps you prepare for a leadership role.

Expanding the Foundation. Required audit competencies have changed considerably over the years, placing more and more emphasis on technology, business acumen and soft skills. IA is now a very respected profession. Effectiveness and efficiency are the hallmarks now. Information has increased over time and data analytics is being used more frequently nowadays. Soft skills and business acumen are very important too. Nowadays, it is good for IA to possess leadership capabilities and strategic thinking capabilities. There is a need for long-term adaptability, continuous learning etc.

Changing with the Profession. The IPPF has a history of adapting to meet stakeholder and member needs. They often listen to the needs of the profession. Now, the framework is more broad and flexible in its approach. The Standards are separated into attribute, performance and implementation types.

Twenty-first Century Milestones. Over the last 15 years, several watershed events helped define the practice of IA. IA is never dull. The first is flagrant financial reporting fraud, with cases like Enron etc. IA cannot ignore controls over financial reporting. The next is financial markets meltdown. The dotcom crash and the subprime crisis wreaked chaos throughout. ERM grew in stature as a result of all these meltdowns. The 3 lines of defence is all the more important in recent times. The next 2 big issues were cybersecurity and bribery and corruption.

The Perception of Value. A comparison of 2 IIA studies suggest internal audit may still have a long way to go in delivering stakeholder insight. Most IA are not meeting stakeholders’ expectations. Sometimes, there might be a lack of general management or operating insights within IA. Sometimes, IA also does not consult departments when developing audit plans.

Where We Are. Today’s IA enjoy greater stature within the organization and are working to meet ever-increasing expectations.

A Steady Progression. Audit professionals are in demand. IA needs to shape management’s expectations of them. IA should market themselves more. Cross-training and gaining exposure from other departments is the key. Auditors must be well-rounded and learn to take personal responsibility.

Conformance to the Standards. The top 10 non-conformance issues are: 1) Internal assessments; 2) reporting on the QAIP; 3) recognition of the definition of IA, code of ethics, standards in the IA charter; 4) external assessments; 5) QAIP; 6) requirements of the QAIP; 7) Engagement work program; 8) purpose, authority and responsibility; 9) co-ordination; 10) communication and approval

The ‘Anti-Fraud Moment’. Fighting fraud demands more than just awareness. There needs to be meaningful training when it comes to learning of skills. There is little training on red flag indicators. Create simple articles to share with employees. Record 5 minute training videos. Take advantage of live formal and informal skills training opportunities.

How Much Do Risks Really Change? The risk landscape shifts radically from 1 year to the next. It can changed a lot in 75 years. Global events can rock the market and commodity prices etc. Tech breakthroughs happen fast and world events disrupt things. Regulations change as well.

Internal Audit Fundamentals. The most basic skills remain largely unchanged. Critical thinking and communication are the key. Co-sourcing is an option when IA lacks certain technical skill sets.

Around the Globe. IA around the world are providing value to their organizations in a wide variety of ways and at different levels of complexity and sophistication. The role of IA may not be well-understood. Value demonstration is the key. Different auditors will be at different levels of proficiency and maturity.

Industry Roundup. The challenges IA face today are many and vary by sector. Public sector audit has moved beyond compliance or financial audits into performance auditing. There is also emphasis on effectiveness. There are sophisticated products in banking and safeguarding information is one of the key objectives. Money laundering is also a key area to watch. As for health care, there are issues like quality of service, compliance, data security are all big challenges.

A Different Perspective. IA’s business partners offer their views of the profession. Audit can identify opportunities for improvement throughout the organization. It is important to have a sharing environment. Technical skills matter a lot nowadays. IA should look at areas that management struggle with. IA should not hide or mask problems from management. Being able to understand IT etc would make IA more valuable.

Educating Auditors. Determining what IA students need to know now is a constant challenge. Being skilled in IA is a unique skill that is useful. It is possible to simulate real-world IA case studies for students. IA needs to be intellectually curious to learn more. One cannot speed up experience as time is required.

IA Future. IA allows one to understand the business. Do not miss the change to meet senior leaders.

‘I realized the role of IA aligned with many of my interests. I wanted to add value and bring a positive impact to a business while understanding how it operates, and IA presents opportunities not found in other roles within the company.’

IT Audit Trends and Foresight. Technology will continue to bring new risks for organizations. IA need to address the IOTs. We need to understand the inventory of devices and the type of data that is collected. One needs to understand the value of digital strategy.

The Changing Business World. Auditors can anticipate future developments by looking beyond their organization’s current business situation. Africa is going to grow fast in future. Businesses need to create space to think. IA needs to be able to anticipate new risks. IA can follow current affairs. Talk to customers to see how their needs are changing. IA is really looking to delight people.

Five Trends. Top global IA thinkers take a broad look at key issues that will shape the profession. The world is changing fast and risk are interdisciplinary. New risks must be understood and evaluated. IA can learn new ways of analysing and also develop strategic foresight. The compliance scope is continually expanding and making things more difficult. IA needs to link compliance activities to upstream processes and control improvements. It will be a challenge for lower the cost of compliance. Stakeholders are more demanding nowadays. IA must have knowledge of the various industries and any new business lines. Technology risk is getting more complicated. Data is becoming more prevalent and data analytics is getting more useful than ever before.

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Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman (Part 2)

A Fifteen Hour Workweek. Leisure time is scarce in modern society, but why is that so? By 2030, Keynes predicted that mankind would have trouble filling up their spare time. Earlier, Benjamin Franklin predicted that we would work 4 hour days only. Employers were not keen to let their employees work for so short hours everyday. Henry Ford discovered that a shorter work week made employees more productive. In 1938, legislation to protect the 5 day workweek was passed. After WWII, leisure time continued to rise. It was predicted that machines would do all the work in future. Working would only be reserved for the elite. The spread of boredom might be a concern for Mankind. There was a concern that too much free time would bring about boredom and idleness. Are scientists prediction of what life would be like in 2062 come true? The irony is that in modern society, the working week is actually growing. It has to do with the feminist revolution. Parenting is a lot more time-intensive nowadays. The smartphone might even lead to the ordinary worker working even longer hours. Consumption has increased a lot more recently. Would our standard of living decrease if we work less? Productivity and long work hours do not go hand in hand. Even in the modern society, 40 hour workweeks might be too much. Research has shown that 6 hours per day is optimum. Working less solves the problem of stress and leads to increased levels of happiness. It might solve climate change and reduce the number of accidents too. It might address unemployment too. Paternity leave is extremely important nowadays. It might address the issue of aging population too. Nowadays, people tend to show off if they are busy. There is not enough paid work to go around. Is the strategy of shorter working hours what we all want? The answer is yes. The countries with the shortest workweeks have the largest number of volunteers and social capital. We all are capable of handling the good life.

It’s quite simple, really. Time is money. Economic growth can yield either more leisure or more consumption. – Rutger Bregman

It is worth noting, however, that the line between work and leisure has blurred in recent times. Work is now often perceived as a kind of hobby, or even as the very crux of our identity. – Rutger Bregman

There’s not a person on Earth who on their deathbed thinks, “Had I only put in a few more hours at the office or sat in front of the tube some more.” – Rutger Bregman

Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. – Oscar Wilde

Why It Doesn’t Pay to Be a Banker. The trash workers went on strike. The streets were extremely stinky. It actually pays to strike. These are essential services which actually do much good to others. However, wall street traders don’t do much. These are the jobs that simply shift money around. Now, in modern society, more people are able to earn without contributing anything tangible to society. Ireland did okay without the bankers for 6 months. It did not have a debilitating impact on daily life. Creating complex financial products actually destroys wealth. Why are we working harder than ever before? Many people admit that they are doing bullshit jobs. Banking is very exclusive to the elite few. Some people feel that their job had no meaning and significance. This is a problem with the capitalist society. The modern society is concerned with nothing but profit. Now, it is all about milking the cash without innovation. Just imagine how society will be if we just focused on creating things of value. It does not mean that you earn much, it automatically means you are contributing to society. In modern times, more people have sought to move to banking. We need to tax higher earners even more. A teacher has a direct hand in shaping the future. We need to intervene at the classroom level. Which knowledge and skills do we want in our children in 2030? A shorter work week allows us to spend more time on ourselves. Society determines what has real value. After the strike, the garage collectors had a significant pay increase.

Making money without creating anything of value is anything but easy. It takes talent, ambition, and brains. And the banking world is brimming with clever minds. – Rutger Bregman

The goal of the future is full unemployment, so we can play. – Arthur C. Clarke

Race Against the Machine. Machines help to eliminate certain jobs. Robots should help to reduce the average number of working hours. People are educated, but your skills might be superfluous after a while. Moore realized the power of computers and that it would soon surpass humans. Machines help in the transportation sector, such as container shipping. The ratio of capital to labour is not constant. Technology has been advancing at an astounding rate. Who’s profiting from this? There are fewer winners as time passes. Inequality has been increasing in developed countries. Many jobs are at risk to be overtaken by machines. It will come in the next 20 years. That are some that argue that automation will create new jobs. Productivity is at record levels in the 2000s. Even the most modern of computers can defeat chess masters. Robots can hone our mental capacities. Automated cars might take over drivers on the roads soon. By 2029, it is predicted that computers will be as intelligent as people. There is no limit for machine computing power. In 1811, some men declared a war on machines, but the machines won. The whole point of robots is for them to do tasks that humans would rather not do themselves. How can we compete against the machine? It seems like there is limited hope and that inequality will continue to increase. Should we continue to focus on education? However, the low-hanging fruit has already been plucked. Maybe a solution is to bring a hammer. Humans still have the ultimate say as to how to shape our destiny. We need a massive redistribution of income.

The reality is that it takes fewer and fewer people to create a successful business, meaning that when a business succeeds, fewer and fewer people benefit. – Rutger Bregman

The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment. – Popular joke among economists

Beyond the Gates of the Land of Plenty. Should we try to give everyone on Earth the joys of the Land of Plenty? We spend a lot of money on developmental aid. Nobody knows whether it has helped much or not. Sometimes, the usage can be different than what was intended. Is the remedy worse than the disease? The first form of aid happened in 1998. Studies have shown that providing free textbooks does not improve scores. We all should aim to take the guess work out of policy making. Is it better to give out free mosquito nets or to sell them? Even microcredit has not been proven effective at combating poverty and illness. Handing out cash is better. However, not everything is measurable. There are the 3 Is of development and they are ideology, ignorance and inertia. There needs to be strong measures against tax evasion especially in poor countries. Opening the gates is one way to give the poor a chance. After the war, countries protected their borders tightly. The world is wide open except for people. Opening borders to labour would boost wealth tremendously. The inhabitants of the Land of Plenty are filthy rich. We turn away refugees way too easily. Americans earn a lot more than their South American counterparts. Opening the borders is one of our best strategies against poverty. However, people often lament that by doing so, you will bringing terrorists in. The risk of terrorism is low. Immigration actually reduces in a decline of terrorist activities. They are not all criminals. There is practically zero correlation between ethnic background and crime. They will not undermine social cohesion too. Diversity cannot be used to blame cohesion in society. There is an argument that foreigner influx can help create more employment opportunities. Will cheap immigrant labor force wages down? A think tank has showed that immigration has virtually no effect on wages. It is not true that foreigners are too lazy to work. Immigrants actually take less advantage of public assistance. Governments can set criteria for them and make it harder for them to get PR. One way is to create language and culture tests. Open borders actually promote immigrant return. Opening the borders is not something we can do overnight. Just cracking the door around migration will help us tremendously.

How Ideas Change the World. There were some people who believed that the world would end on Dec 21, 1954. This was a prophecy that failed. Humans tend to suffer from cognitive dissonance, where people recalibrate reality rather than amend their worldview. Humans tend to stubborn. The more educated you are, the more unwilling you will be to change. Can new ideas like a universal basic income truly change the world? However, people’s ideas can indeed change over time. Sometimes, a single opposing voice can make all the difference. Had we invested too much in our old convictions? There is a lot we can learn from Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. There are lessons we can learn from Neoliberalism. The world is getting richer and safer. It is okay to dream and keep plugging away.

People are most likely to change their opinions if you confront them with new and disagreeable facts as directly as possible. – Rutger Bregman

Utopia is on the horizon. I move two steps closer; it moves two steps further away. I walk another ten steps and the horizon runs ten steps further away. As much as I may walk, I’ll never reach it. So what’s the point of utopia? The point is this: to keep walking. – Eduardo Galeano

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Schiit Happened by Jason Stoddard and Mike Moffat (Part 3)

Finally, the $99 solution. Mike was the one who thought that $99 gear was possible. In the past, it certainly wasn’t possible. I had my doubts that we could do it. I was very thrilled that we managed to do it. Audio is a seasonal business, where demand is strong between October to March. Magni and Modi were products we didn’t announce beforehand. The good thing is that you won’t miss your deadline. However, without a deadline, you won’t work as hard. If there are delays, you may miss your first mover advantage. As a result, we could have chased our vendors harder. The metal delivery was late. We missed CanJam as a result. The boards were late too. Thankfully, we just needed to switch out the capacitors before we could fit them in the new chassis. On Dec 13, 2012, we announced Modi and Magni. They outstripped the sales of all our other products combined. Nobody expected that we could deliver it at that price point. I saw the headphone market growing. I wanted to release something of value, and Schiit managed to do that. First time users could have excellent sound with the Magni and the Modi. Magni was neutral and had a ton of power. Modi didn’t need drivers and works well. Of course, there are better amps and DACs out there, however, with the quality of music that most people are listening, this would suffice.

Making another pricey product – no matter how advanced and innovative – is cool and all, and makes for good ego fodder. But making a good, solid product that almost anyone can afford, that’s a whole another thing entirely. – Jason Stoddard

And that’s what I wanted to do – to set the value bar, and the barrier to entry, much, much higher. – Jason Stoddard

Twilight of the Gods – the Ragnarok Saga from 2009 Until Today. Ragnarok was a big saga since 2009 We shipped a powerful speaker amp. If you pre-announce something, you will be wise to stop talking about it. Do not confirm that it will be a cool product. Speakers are very large. They need much damping factor. Our second Ragnarok was much better. It was solid state and used DC servos. However, it would get hot and we needed to find a solution. There are 3 ways to get rid of DC on your outputs: coupling capacitors; DC servo; Trimpots. I wanted a microprocessor to run everything on the Ragnarok. I released info on the product even before it was released. Software has a lot of bugs too. We ran into a shit load of problems. However, one day, the Ragnarok just smoked. It was really bad. Ragnarok didn’t work well at an audio show. It was nowhere near ready. The thing kept burning up because of too much current. We kept trying to write code for the firmware to prevent this. However, even after the power right, it didn’t sound good. There are plenty of other sagas than those mentioned above. Making great products requires a hell lot of pain at times.

Blazing a new path isn’t to be taken lightly. You should take a long, hard look at your capabilities and resources, and plan for how it will impact everything you do. – Jason Stoddard

You’ll Never Do Any Upgrades Anyway. Some audiophiles didn’t think we would do upgrades for the Bitfrost. Audiophiles can be very difficult sometimes. Mike was at the cutting edge of audio when he was at Theta. There was no standalone DAC at his time. Digital audio is new too. Mike measured jitter too. Audio in the 2000s is changing, but at a slowing rate as compared to the 1980s and 1990s. Most DACs are delta-sigma D/A converters. USB is a lot more mature and it is improving. DSD is not that hot now. WiFi digital audio is there. Bluetooth digital audio is also up there too. We didn’t know when we could upgrade the Bifrost. Pick your upgrades carefully and keep them to a minimum. For DACs, the chip AK4399 is our favorite. When you have upgrades, everyone wants to have it NOW, without hesitation.

Worst. Customer. Ever. The customer is always right. Is the customer always God? You can’t do well in business if you don’t love your customers. Amazon’s rule of customer service is that if you have to contact them, they have failed. How can you architect customer service? The smaller your customer service team, the more consistent their replies and the better it is for you. Prohibit the ‘hard sell’. Ban discussion of other manufacturers’ products. Don’t do promo, points, or sales. Less discounts means less complexity. If you have sales, some people will think they would be screwed if they missed the sale. Audio is subjective. Always maintain a high standard of customer service. You can’t take a day to reply emails, that is too slow. Choose your contact options. Choosing your feedback channels are important. However, do not pick too many or you will be flooded. If customers call you, it is bad as it is time consuming to answer calls. If you hire an audio expert to answer calls, it is going to be expensive. A nasty customer we encountered was when his item was a little late. He went into absolute berserk mode. We refunded him in the end. Yet, he was still raging. Believe me, not every customer is worth having.

If you’re going to get into business selling product direct to customers, you need to know two things: 1) You’re gonna get some buttheads; 2) You’re not gonna make everyone happy. – Jason Stoddard

We bend over backwards for our customers. But we won’t be bent forwards. – Jason Stoddard

Put enough information up about the product so most people can make their own decisions, but when they contact us, make the answers fast and simple. – Jason Stoddard

Anyone who emails us before purchasing is 8 times more likely to return the order. 2+ emails takes it up to 30 times. But again, are these bad people? Not at all. Merely indecisive. – Jason Stoddard

But you should be aware that you are talking to humans that can – and do – bend over backwards. But if you come in hot, that willingness to bend over backwards diminishes. – Jason Stoddard

Death of a Product. This will definitely happen some day. Should you cannibalize? It is important to understand product life cycle. No product can stay relevant forever. If you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will. It is easier to follow someone else’s rules rather than make your own. It is not smart to assume that sales slow down, it is time to upgrade. We killed the Asgard after the Magni was introduced. Asgard didn’t have gain switching and preamp outputs. The Asgard 2 was introduced and it was much better. It was dead silent on low gain. We had an absolute winner and knew it would be terrific. However, when we produced the Asgard 2, it had a hum. We swapped them.

R&D Sometimes Means, “Try it, See If It Works”. R&D can be very focused. However, at times, it shouldn’t be. Playtime is important. Let your engineers have fun as it will pay-off. We managed to get cheap tubes off eBay and we started tweaking to see how we could fit them into our products. This was the road to Vali. They were much better than the other tubes out there and required little power. The problem with tubes is that tube microphonics might happen and it appears as a form of noise.

But I strongly believe that R&D shouldn’t always be so focused. There’s value in making sure your engineering staff has time to play with crazy ideas. – Jason Stoddard

Name Me One Non-standard Format That’s Succeeded, Ever, Or, A Trickster Cometh. DSD was out in 2013. DSD requires a new type of filtering, which would create noise. We were initially not keen as our products would need a lot of upgrades. We were afraid of missing out on sales if we didn’t jump on the bandwagon. It’s a special software that will go nowhere. Many customers inquired on when our products will support DSD. Reluctantly, I managed to convince Mike to think about it. Our sales kept increasing though. We suddenly wanted to make the least expensive DSD DAC on the market. This would help to drive adoption. It would also have an option for PCM, where we could run a PCM DAC through it. It would be like an add-on. We didn’t have DSD capable USB receivers. We managed to develop a prototype that could play native DSD, using a crystal semiconductor DAC. It worked fine with the AKM DAC. We tried to bring it to market, if it did, we would work on 2X solution. Loki was introduced, where people could add DSD to any DAC for $149. However, it was received as well as we thought. Mike has mentioned no more DSD development until something big happens. However, the public didn’t seem interested in DSD all that longer. There are plenty of DACs out there that support DSD, but where is the software. DSD recordings are expensive for artistes and is it unlikely there will be happy. Also, the improvement in sound quality is marginal and may not be detected.

No Sample Left Unchanged: Digital Today. Let’s talk business philosophies. A typical AV preamp must have a lot of features. There are many standards, such as Dolby Atmos. It is hard to support all these formats. We have to pay licensing fee to put the logos on the box. Should we be at the whim of the standard-setters, like surround-sound standards? Would customers be okay with a processor that sounded good that didn’t support Dolby Digital or DTS? Digital audio has made steady progression over the years. The multibit technology has been improving. Jitter numbers have been decreasing steadily. 1-bit sigma-delta modulation is cheap and has good measurements. The phone DAC ain’t too shabby either. Today, it is a largely sigma-delta world. Lobby for better recordings in the studios, which will help us. DAC mostly upsample and use asynchronous sample rate conversion, affecting the original samples. Samples which have passed a digital filter are not the same. Yggdrasil aims to address that. We have the solution to retain the original samples, without oversampling. The more bits, the less the quantization error. The best DACs around can do only 20 bits. To achieve 24 bit linearity hasn’t happened yet. We have plenty of music in PCM format.

And “32 bit?” LOLOLROFLCOPTER. There will never be any 32 bit music. Because physics. – Jason Stoddard

Black Friday. It is important for a company to define why you do certain stuff. One day, the metal maker delivered us black chassis and we decided to sell them. We would make it a one-time special. In Nov 13, we announced a limited run of black Schiit products. However, there was no big wave of orders for them. The issue is because price and quality matter more than cosmetic colours ultimately. What has this got to do with Black Friday? Many companies participate in Black Friday sales. We choose not to participate. It is great not to stand against a trend sometimes. We don’t do fancy chassis to increase the cost. We do direct distribution too and don’t have a dealer network. A lot of audio experts and engineers have praised our products for our sound quality.

As a start-up, always remember clamor doesn’t always equal the demand. – Jason Stoddard

Niche features or functionality can evoke a lot of passion – and, while that passion may translate into many emails, it may not translate into sales. – Jason Stoddard

You Want to Pay How Much? Or, How We Moved Again. We were thinking of moving office. Someone else wanted to move into the building and we had to go. Good performers expect to be paid well. They also value flexible work hours. For instance, you can work from home etc. Our assembly team usually works at night. There could be a lot of problems. The owners could realize their profits are small or non-existent. When they exit, you have to buy back their shares and value the company. You will have to pay lawyers too to step in. There are also tax implications of giving away shares. Do not insult the intelligence of your motivated and engaged staff. Don’t minimize their worth. Don’t insult their intelligence. Tell the truth and keep your promises. If you can’t pay as well as some other companies, tell them that they might receive more benefits in the future as the company grows. Always keep to your promises. If not, things will get ugly. Provide personal motivation. The key is to get smart, motivated people to start with. We don’t have a sales department. We spend 0.2% of revenue on marketing. Always remember that your people matter and that your customers matter too. Motivated employees take the initiative to do things. We moved into a huge 5300 feet space. We started looking like a real company. Rina would sublease the space upstairs. We didn’t spend a lot of money on renovating or sprucing up the place. However, we bought a fridge, racks, desks and test equipment etc.

Exactly 2 things motivate high-performing employees: money and freedom. – Jason Stoddard

How do you pay good salaries when you’re just starting up and money is tight? Great question. Tricky answers too. Because the first temptation usually is to give away a percentage of the business. Which is exactly the worst thing you can do. – Jason Stoddard

If you don’t literally want to create everything by hand, yourself, you need great employees. Repeat after me: Don’t minimize their worth. Don’t insult their intelligence. – Jason Stoddard

Start with a livable salary, and add bonuses that are based on visible personal or company metrics. Number of products shipped. Number of products built etc. – Jason Stoddard

Motivated employees do not think that having a lounge matters. They think it’s funny. They’re thrilled to help us grow. And growth doesn’t come from Hermann Miller chairs and Steelcase desks and faux-finish paint and $600 LED lamps. – Jason Stoddard

A Real Company? It is end of 2013 now. Finding a niche is important. Be memorable and understand that not everyone will love you. Niche is where we want to be. We do not want to be like Beats, Bose etc. You have to love audio to be in this business. We have a unique sound at a unique value. It is important to run from both conventional advertising and social media both. It is hard work, but it is fun. There will be problems but we crack our head and solve them. There is still much work for us ahead. Remember that it is always important to be unique. Simply throwing marketing money at problems won’t work. Stay where we are, and get better at it. Do listen to your customers for their input. Continue to challenge the established wisdom.

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How to be a Leader by Martin Bjergegaard and Cosmina Popa

Introduction. Kitty Genovese was murdered on 13 March 1964. Ever since, the 911 emergency system was used. She wasn’t famous but the murder was brutal. The strange thing was that nobody called the police. There were 37 people who witnessed the murder but didn’t call the police. When interviewed, they all assumed that someone should have had called the police already. People condemned the human race as being selfish. Researchers have termed this the bystander effect. It’s about the diffusion of responsibility. Social influence also reflects that it is okay to be like everyone else. Bystander apathy can be overcome and there are instances that prove it. Leadership is a choice too, you can choose whether to step up or not. In China, some babies died when their milk powder contained melamine. Melamine is known to cause severe urinary problems and kidney damage. We need to step up as leaders and be masters of our own lives. This book will introduce ideas, thinking and practices. Every moment is a potential for you to exhibit leadership qualities. There are 12 strongest leadership lessons. Leadership needs to evolve with the times.

You. You need to know thyself. Learn to discover one’s purpose. Connect your leadership with your purpose. Learn to become wiser. Be curious about yourself and have a thirst for knowledge. Become a touchstone of wisdom, awareness etc.

Is There Something You Really, Really Care about? For instance, can you stand up to bullies? In Naples, there is a culture where people would advance purchase a coffee for someone in need. It was then that John discovered the need to pay it forward through simple acts of kindness. This is a simple way to help someone in need. John Sweeney really cared about kindness as he was bullied as a kid. When someone does a favour for you, turn around and do someone else a favour too. Learn to lead a big movement of people. Look deep inside yourself to find out what moves you. Is there anything which you care about deeply? Leadership is for everyone. Stillness and solitude is important for self-reflection. Sit down and reflect on the moments where you have been hurt or pained. Ask yourself whether there is anything you care deeply about?

The best leaders in the world find what they really care about, and almost everything else flows from this point. But many of us live in a way that is out of alignment with our true purpose. – Martin Bjergegaard

Mind the Body. How will I be able to cope with jet lag? Extensive traveling can be draining on the body. We need to learn to pay attention to red flags. Please take care of your body. Modern leadership requires heart, body mind and soul. You can view your body as a temple which houses your consciousness. In the past, people believed in dualism, but we know our mind and matter are integrated. You must always take good care of yourself. Sleep is of utmost importance. Sleep is actually vital for memory consolidation. It is also associated with cell rejuvenation. It cleans away dead and dying cells. Poor sleep habits are associated with negative well-being. You should sleep a minimum of 7 hours every night. Learn to possess self-care and not abuse alcohol. Please avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Find the type of movement which you like to take part in, this could be in the form of dance etc. Your body is a sage. Researchers have discovered that we have both a heart and gut brain. Your body can also produce ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses to everything. Our body is indeed really intelligent. How do we inhabit the body? Like artists, leaders have to step back and listen and be open to change. Learn to enhance your relationship with your body.

What’s important is that we acknowledge where we are, accept and love ourselves exactly as we are. – Martin Bjergegaard

If we consume information prior to going to sleep for a minimum of an hour and a half, this enables our brain to consolidate learning and we retain that information for a longer period of time. – Martin Bjergegaard

Unleash Your Curiosity. You must always question the status quo and how can you do things better. Always learn with an open mind. Curiosity is a habit where we can all develop. A world without curiosity could be extremely boring. It would kill the human spirit. Curiosity makes our lives richer. Children tend to be curious than adults. It is always possible to find something that you are curious about. Young people should be learning how to create the future. The problem with curiosity is that one might get too distracted and unfocused. What people need is focused curiosity.

A lot of people do it when retired – and those are the ones that seem to be getting ten years older during their first year of retirement. In order to thrive, most of us need surroundings and circumstances that change, develop and ideally improve. Our curiosity is what makes tomorrow interesting.  -Martin Bjergegaard

Infuse Your Leadership with ‘Ecosophy’. Churchill was fascinated by butterflies. Could this have helped keep him calm? Nature can indeed move and nurture you. One should be at one with nature. Learn to have a deeper appreciation of nature. ‘Ecosophy’ means a dynamic and evolving sense of wisdom required to live in harmony with the Earth. Nature can also be inspiration for buildings and structures. Learn to have a deep experience with nature. Nature can indeed be your teacher. Humans actually for form a subsystem with Mother Nature.

A moment that touches us and, with a gasp, allows us to see and feel the intricate marvel of the web of life of which we are a part. – Chris Nichols

You & Others. Culture matters. Communication is everything. Master the Art of Communication. The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is extremely demanding and can take more than 10 months. Most of the crew were amateurs. Communication was the key for success. The skipper is the leader, who must communicate with his crew well. Here are 5 key skills for effective leadership. They are 1) storytelling; 2) understand what others are saying; 3) conflict resolution; 4) be open and transparent; 5) create a space for others to tell the truth. The second one is difficult to achieve. It is necessary to foster genuine conversations that lead to mutual understanding. The use of the talking stick works, as the person who holds it is allowed to talk. No one else is allowed to talk. The listener should be able to repeat what has been said. Strive to understand the other party. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Be transparent. Do not keep your employees in the dark over problems in your company. Ensure that your employees understand your P&L statement etc. The owners shouldn’t cover up when the start-up is sinking. It is okay to be vulnerable. Find a way to pull through together. Talk to other people in your organization about going beyond small talk.

Trust is immediately eradicated when people sense we are not being honest with them. They might not know exactly where the fire is, but they will notice the smoke. None of us enjoys being kept in the dark, and the result is a quick drop in morale. – Martin Bjergegaard

Define your Riverbanks. We need to create culture and evolve it over time. When there are people, there is culture. It can be dynamic. It takes leadership for this to happen. The Container Store in the US aims to ‘help people organize and simplify their lives’. They pay their employees very well. Money is not the most important motivator. The 3 intrinsic motivators are 1) autonomy; 2) mastery; 3) purpose. The company invests in training. The employees feel valued and tend to stay. As a leader, you must be there with your employees. There must be a culture of taking care of your employees. For instance, the aim of a restaurant could be to leave people a little happier when they leave than when they came in. Pleasing guests were important. Learn to develop a ‘hospitality quotient’. Culture is like a boundary, just like a riverbank. Lead to design a culture where everyone can thrive. For instance, you could end meetings with voluntary appreciation.

Decision-making is a Team Sport. At Rainmaking, we were run by 6 co-CEOs. We make decisions collectively. Someone must be the natural leader. This is powerful collective leadership. Traditional thinking is that there can be only 1. As a group, we make better decisions. We also own the decision, so there are better commitment levels. This also leads to better team morale. In the past, direct democracy was possible, but it soon got evolved to representative democracy because there were too many people involved in the decision making. People should vote for those who best represent them to make a decision.

Grow Your Appetite for Altruism. I remember being in a sheep farm. I knew I wanted to move to the US. Marylyn Ginsburg was very curious about learning and was concerned with people in the orphanage. I respected her deeply. She also funded my education partially. I experienced genuine acts of altruism and wanted to pay it forward. Altruism and co-operation are deeply linked. Selfishness is not the only reason for altruism. One person can make the difference too. Never underestimate that. Altruism can build a more caring society.

Shadow. This is the dark side of our personality. We are reluctant to explore it. Invite fear and learn from it. You can transform uncertainty into creativity. Learn to build a constructive relationship with your ego.

Leadership During Crisis. The first tip to deal with crisis is to apply yourself as a human being and not a corporate CEO. Be authentic and deal with the problem yourself, and not use a spokesperson. Get help from the board and experts. Get help from PR advisers if necessary to prepare to face the media. Think about the landscape you are navigating. Treat crises as learning opportunities for your company to rebound and step up. Trust that the world is good. Ask yourself: what is the right thing to do under these circumstances? Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

So when you experience a crisis as a leader, remember that we are all imperfect, never lose your perspective, and trust that you will eventually be forgiven. – Martin Bjergegaard

Welcome, Uncertainty. There is no blueprint for uncertainty. We need to live on the edge of the unknown. When something happens, we tend to classify it as either good, bad or neutral. You can start to practice mindfulness. It can help the pain to go away. Notice the sensations you feel but let them go, without an anchor. One can try the sensation or isolation chamber. You can learn to consciously deal with uncertainty. Mindfulness is a great way to deal with the problem.

In order to do something extraordinary, to create something from nothing, you have to not only be okay with uncertainty, but actually welcome it. – Martin Bjergegaard

Double Your Failure Rate. Failure can be crippling. Success and failures are indeed very relative in nature. We like to compare our achievements with our past. Learn to view your genius as something external to you. Humans have the tendency to compare with people in our immediate surroundings. Failures are just part of your journey. There will be hits and misses. Humour is a great way to deal with failure. Share your failures openly. BVP has a website documenting their anti-portfolio, or list of failures. View failures through a philosophical lens. Failure and pain are necessary for growth. Failure is the greatest teacher of all. What is the optimal next step from all this? Learn to write a plan.

Without taking risks, we are not going to accomplish much. But taking a risk by definition involves a high probability of failure. 90% of all start-ups are said to fail, but still millions of people quit their job every year to start their own thing. – Martin Bjergegaard

On Ego and The Forces of Glamour. As a CEO, you have to watch your ego. How do you recognize when it is getting out of hand? It is a double-edged sword and it can also create something new. The ego is a ‘complex of ideas which constitute the centre of one’s field of consciousness’. It is like man’s best friend. It can cause mischief for our leaders. It likes to seek validation and attention. Glamour is something that distorts our perception and reality. If you like to find fault with employees, it is an example of being in glamour. Do not drag your negative energy home. Some people feel there is glamour in busyness and self-importance. Be aware and cultivate a detachment. When you observe your ego taking over, take a breather and a back-seat.

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How to Think Like an Entrepreneur by Philip Delves Broughton

Introduction. Most entrepreneurs fail. However, it is a good learning experience nonetheless. The main reason why people fail is that they become demoralized. Yet, the start-up scene is thriving and buzzing. However, one tends to only hear of the successful stories. This is a case of WYSIATI – What You See is All There Is. Optimism can be costly indeed. To succeed is a great achievement in itself. It is a way out of the corporate life. You are doing it for yourself. It allows you to innovate and to challenge what is already out there in the market. It gives emotion its proper place. Before starting, optimism might not be as useful as compared to when the business has been established. There will be ups and downs, successes and despairs. This book is a guide for those who want to take this path. You can also be entrepreneurial as an employee. Learn to pursuit a path of your own. Obama had his doubts before running for President. This book will describe the ways you need to think as you first decide whether to be one. There is a link between economies which thrive and the freedom of individuals to flourish. People must be free to use their knowledge and talents in order for society to grow. A modern economy can produce dreams into reality. There needs to be a balance between satisfying the corporatists and the individualists. We need to think about what is means to be an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship offers a way out of corporate life, out of a system of task-and-reward allocation run by others, to one run by you. You get to decide how to work, what to work on, and how to divide the rewards. – Philip Delves Broughton

If you are a chef chafing on the line, yearning to create dishes which exist only in your imagination, finding investors and opening your own restaurant is a way to turn that yearning into action. – Philip Delves Broughton

People with so much to protect are not always inclined to support those agitating for change. Yet to think like an entrepreneur is to be modern. To want change, to search for opportunity and then be willing to pursue it. – Philip Delves Broughton

The Entrepreneurial Mind. The Material Question. George Gurdjieff was the founder of Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man. He was taught to create new stuff since young. Through this, he was able to surmount many difficulties. He was tricky and pretended to repair other people’s goods for a fee. As a result, he became rich. This experience fortified him.

If you can find your customers’ pain and heal it, how you do it and how much you charge will scarcely matter. – Philip Delves Broughton

Cognitive Complexity. Some people say entrepreneurs are control freaks, risk addicts etc. The only common trait they all share is that they choose to be entrepreneurs. The two habits of mind is cognitive complexity and greed. You must be tolerant of new ideas and curious about the experiences which challenge you. You must trust that the world will take care of you. There is also a need to internalize different cultures. Your upbringing also plays a part. One way to learn is to be marginalized and to be forced into awkward social positions. Usually, difficult times will toughen you up for the subsequent challenges in life. Sometimes, over-specialization can cause you to lose sight of how to make connections between diverse fields. It would be good to have a mentally intensive hobby like music, painters, writers etc.

Wanting It. Entrepreneurs can have different attitudes to money. Some show them off and flaunt their wealth. Mark Zuckerberg wears the same T-shirt all the time. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg all do something they are nuts about. Would you want to be ‘rich or king’? Would you want to be rich and cash out? Or retain control and manage a growing enterprise? Do you want to be a king over a smaller domain? There are 4 types of people: 1) Work for themselves and for no one else; 2) Join businesses and reach senior positions; 3) Work for others but unspectacularly; 4) Work for others but are not motivated to work hard or improve the organization. The first 2 possess the Millionaire Mentality. They know the value of a dollar and the importance of not to squander it. Some people only think of excess profits earned should be reinvested in the business. A greed for improvement and for success is nothing to be ashamed about.

An independent spirit and an appetite for success, of which money can be a significant market, is what sets the flywheel of entrepreneurial achievement in motion. – Philip Delves Broughton

Age vs Experience. Some of the tech geniuses are still in their 20s. Younger people have more resilience. They invest in the young. The average age of American entrepreneurs which started their first company is 40. VCs love younger people. The best time to start when you the right energy and competence. As you age, your energy level drops. Good businesses require credibility to attract investors and employees and managerial experience.

The Old Man and the Fish. One can get inspiration from old objects, like the oldest life forms. For instance, a designer got inspiration from the body of a fish to create a fish-inspired design. It was a unique architectural vision. Gehry was 69.

Closing the Experience Gap. You have to think of the inverted U of productivity and where you currently fall along the curve. Larry Page and Sergey Brin were young when they started their first search engine. Being ambitious is important. Eric Schmidt was hired as the Google CEO. In 2011, he stepped aside to let Page be CEO. Sheryl Sandberg agreed to be Facebook CEO. In 2012, it went IPO. Both these companies realized that they needed to move up the inverted U curve of productivity and age by hiring. Sometimes, you can’t do it alone.

A Brief History of an Idea. What does entrepreneurship mean? It was associated with being a merchant. They were also innovators who struck out on their own. Ralph Waldo Emerson encouraged people to look inwards for inspiration. One has to be comfortable with solitude. The entrepreneur was more than just a manager of risk. John Rockefeller was the first billionaire. Business was about ‘survival of the fittest’. Schumpeter was an economist. He understood the importance of economics. Later, he lectured in Harvard. He was a very ambitious man indeed. He knew that growth in an economy was dependent on entrepreneurs. Because of them, entrepreneurship would be revolutionized. Change was the only constant. Peter Drucker had a similar career path to Schumpeter. To him, it was possible to learn entrepreneurship. He also identified entrepreneurship in other fields.

The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity. – Peter Drucker

Searching for Opportunity. The Adjacent Possible. Chris Blackwell was fascinated by Jamaicans after they took care of him. Later, he got inspired to write music. The Jamaica’s Rastafarians music became popular throughout the world. Sometimes, you might find ideas in areas which you might least expect. This is known as the ‘adjacent possible’, which is discovering opportunities in the work that surrounds them. Gillette the shaver was a great idea and created a near monopoly effect for years.

Nearly 75% of entrepreneurs find their ideas while in their current job. A fifth find them by chance and fewer than 5% by systematically searching for new opportunities. – Philip Delves Broughton

The Gossip Test. Francis Crick wondered what he should do after WWII. He didn’t know what to do with life. However, he realized the lack of qualifications could be an advantage. He knew a bit about physics and mathematics. Later he saw Kreisel. Later, he discovered his love for antibiotics. Later, he chose molecular biology. Later, he went on to win the Nobel Prize, for the discovery of the double-helical structure of DNA.

I had discovered the gossip test – what you are really interested in is what you gossip about. – Philip Delves Broughton

A bug Named Jim. Jim Collins often filled his notebook with observations of the world. He felt dissatisfied at HP. He observed bugs in a jar. Through time, he realized that he preferred academia and he eventually work many books on management and business success. Self-observation and self-awareness are very important indeed.

Shifts and Disruptions. Thomas Kuhn was a professor and a historian. To him, both Aristotle and Newton were right, just that they were in different paradigms. How do you figure out which paradigm is good for you. For instance, in sports, the paradigm might be discipline, strength and hard work. If you are not that fit, you could use another paradigm, this could be strategizing more on the field. This tactic might work over time as well. Disruption is a term which often means paradigm shift too. Not every star-ups need to disrupt in order to success. However, the start-up should understand the theory before you launch in practice. Too many layers in a company became self-reinforcing. This is why big companies are less creative and less nimble. IBM dominated in the 1965s but the mainframes were gradually less popular. The mainframe companies failed. Most companies who get disrupted could see it coming but didn’t do anything about it. Kodak was a failure who went bankrupt. Newspaper businesses suffered the similar fate. One needs to try to attack the prevailing mode of doing business. Even in surgery, balloon angioplasty revolutionized heart surgery. Now, the costs are lower as well. Disruption can occur in any field and we must be prepared for it.

The Slow Hunch. Inventions emerge from the mass of human experience. Every generation after should be better than the previous one. Someone figured out that freezing food fast could preserve the condition and taste of food. One’s curiosity of nature is important. Ideas packaged together in a new configuration is crucial.

Responding to Opportunity. Assembling Complementary Assets. You must consider which assets to keep in-house and which to outsource. You can self-publish or go via a publisher. In entrepreneurship, you will be involved in a lot of decision making.

People. Corporate executives spend days trying to manage volume. As entrepreneurs, you have to come up with your own options. Decision making is crucial as you must make decisions that also are in-line with the long term goal of the company. People are a huge factor. They may be difficult to fire if they turn out poor. Agents are employees but whose loyalty might be limited and be non-committed. You might issue some equity to employees so that they can work harder. You must also be able to be brutally honest to people. You cannot put off decision making as it is painful. Some things have to be done no matter what.

Loneliness can kill a start-up and the enthusiasm and presence of friends is reassuring in those early, uncertain days. But unless there is a sound business logic for their presence, you could be in for trouble. – Philip Delves Broughton

Entrepreneurs get to see their decision bear fruit. What they say goes, and that freedom, that actualization through action, is the thrill of what they do. – Philip Delves Broughton

Context. You must have a relationship with your landscape. Your success might not be easily measured.

It’s not about going where everyone else is going, where the contest will be fiercest and the rivalries intense. It is about going to the place where you will have a natural edge over every other sucker who rolls into town, where you can take the risk that others never could. – Philip Delves Broughton

Planning. You will constantly grapple between the questions of ‘how’ and ‘what’. It is like building the plane at the same time as your hurtle towards take-off. Your business plan that you created is unlikely to suit the market. Plans need to be adapted to suit circumstance. The aim of the business plan is to get the entrepreneur to think. You must think both short and long-term for your business.

The business plan can be an invaluable checkpoint for the rational entrepreneur. It allows you to think about what you might need before you actually need it. – Philip Delves Broughton

Exploiting Opportunity. The Struggle. Elon Musk was in bad financial shape in the end of 2008. He had ventured into SpaceX and Tesla. At that time, he thought he was doomed. Thankfully, his investors bailed him out at the last minute. Then SpaceX won a billion dollar contract with NASA. He managed to pull it off. Musk has a tremendous ability to take pain and be hyper-rational about decision making. Failure might inevitably set it for an entrepreneur. Most people are not strong enough to overcome their struggle.

Being and Becoming. Those who have followed Elon would have earned rewards. His engineers would work all day and night. The work culture was addictive. They also were ingenious and could improvise at rates inconceivable at larger companies. They managed to build engine within 3 days. They built rockets from scratch. Falcon 1 failed in 2006. Musk painted them an image that their work was worthwhile.

SpaceX is in this for the long haul and, come hell or high water, we are going to make this work. – Elon Musk

It is the difficulty of entrepreneurship that leads to the fullest imaginable life. Work provides the framework for self-discovery, for finding out who we can be when we meet great challenges. – Philip Delves Broughton

Failure 1 and Failure 2. There are two types of failures, there are trivial failures and soul-shaking ones. Failure 1 are failures intrinsic to the scientific method. However, this eliminates one possibility. This is like one of the materials that won’t cause the lightbulb to light. Nowadays, you can start something off as a prototype and gain traction. However, iteration is important and iteration is a form of beauty in itself. Failure 2 are those that tests you as a person. An example of this is being on the verge of bankruptcy and emerging from the abyss. You don’t want to mess around with Failure 2s.

Most attempts fail not because of lack of brains but because the investigator gets stuck in a cul-de-sac or gives up too soon – Francis Crick

Indifference and Lightness. Stoics recommend we contemplate the worst possible experiences in life. Always anticipate the worst. Seneca was a famous stoic. Zen is a form of emotional therapy which is useful too. Steve Jobs established Apple University. It was a leadership programme. Steve Jobs’ character defined Apple. They were focused on good design. Jobs was fascinated with Zen Buddhism. For people to practice this, the past does not matter. Building a business was for the passionate and persistent. Learn to trust your gut. Value your loss as it gives you time to work on your work and family. Sometimes, you will meet success along unconventional paths. The rewards of the work matter little to the work itself.

To think like an entrepreneur is to think in terms of change, often dramatic change. And to change anything, one must move lightly, unburdened by the drab expectations of others. – Philip Delves Broughton

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How To Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big Kind of the Story of My Life By Scott Adams (Part 2)

Managing your Attitude. You do better work and enjoy life when your attitude is good. If you do not let your environment affect you, it will be a superpower. Do not let environment factors affect you. Tired people tend to be grumpy. Learn to raise your energy and elevate your attitude. Increase your ratio of happy to disturbing thoughts. Learn to daydream of wonderful things. Imagination will keep you going. Avoid sad movies, books, people etc. Consume feel-good entertainment. Exercise, nutrition and sleep are good to cure bad moods. Work on projects that might change the world. It is very liberating as well. Your imagined success will keep you happy. You will fail sometime, but you will learn. Smiling will make you feel better even if it is fake. Fake it until you make it. Acting confident will also make you more confident. It is a chicken and egg problem. If you are feeling down, try to smile at strangers as this will perk you up after a while. Smiling makes you more attractive to others. If you are not comfortable with smiling, hang around those who are funny. Walk away from the soul suckers. Scott has been good at scrabble, pool, tennis and ping pong. Simply through insane hours of practice, he became good at them. These are minor successes in your life. If you know how many hours it will take to be good at something, you won’t bail out so easily. Winning feels great and it energizes him. Pick the delusion that works. Our brains cannot fully comprehend reality. Very often, reality depends on the observer and can be flawed. We do not fully understand the environment around us. It is important to pick your way of the world and stick to it. This is why people believe in superstition. If the illusion is motivating, it is good enough as it increases your energy in life. If you imagine your book will be read by millions, it serves as a form of motivation.

Your attitude affects everything you do in your quest for success and happiness. A positive attitude is an important tool. It’s important to get it right. – Scott Adams

Don’t worry if your idea is a long shot. That’s not what matters right now. Today you want to daydream of your idea being a huge success so you can enjoy the feeling. Let your ideas for the future fuel your energy today. No matter what you want to do in life, higher energy will help you get there. – Scott Adams

I’ve come to believe that success at anything has a spillover effect on other things. You can take advantage of that effect by becoming good at things that require nothing but practice. – Scott Adams

Once you become good at a few unimportant things, such as hobbies or sports, the habit of success stays with you on more important quests. When you have tasted success, you want more. – Scott Adams

I’m better than 99% of the world in each of those games because I put in more practice time than 99% of the world. – Scott Adams

A great strategy for success in life is to become good at something, anything, and let that feeling propel you to new and better victories. Success can be habit-forming –  Scott Adams

Free yourself from the shackles of an oppressive reality. What’s real to you is what you imagine and what you feel. If you manage your illusions wisely, you might get what you want, but you won’t necessarily understand why it worked. – Scott Adams

It’s Already Working. You want to hang out with people who want to succeed. If you turn professional, it can help unlock your talent. Fake it until it becomes real. When you are placed in a manager position, you start acting like one.

Your decision to read this book is confirmation that you are a person of action who has a desire to be more effective. I’m reinforcing that thought to help lock it in. – Scott Adams

My Pinkie Goes Nuts. His pinkie started having spasms after drawing too much. The doctor suggested that he quit his day job and comics. He had to overcome ‘focal dystonia’. However, he had hope that the situation will improve. He was determined to be the first one to beat the illness. He tried all kind of treatments to cure the illness. Nothing seemed to work and it was getting worse. By conditioning his brain through repetitive exercise, he gradually solved the problem. In 2004, the problem re-surfaced. Scott found a tablet and started drawing. He started drawing on a program called Wacom. Wacom is much easier to use than paper and pen.

My Speaking Career. Scott was invited to give a speech at an organization. He charged the organization $5000. He kept increasing the price, but there was still increasing demand. Learn to overprice your services and see what happened.

It’s a cliché that who you know is helpful for success. What is less obvious is that you don’t need to know CEOs and billionaires. Sometimes you just need a friend who knows different things than you do. And you can always find one of those. – Scott Adams

My Voice Problem Gets a Name. He lost his voice in 2005. 2 separate ideas on the Internet gave an idea on what his condition was. Was the pinkie problem related to the voice problem. He also had spasmodic dysphonia. However, there was no cure for it. You must always believe you can overcome your problems.

The Voice Solution That Didn’t Work. Scott took Botox injections for a few months but soon after it didn’t work.

Recognizing your talents and knowing when to quit. How do you combine your skills to form something great? Observe what you liked to do before you turned 10. Scott loved to doodle in class. Some people are wired for certain preferences in life. To be an expert, one needs to spend 10,000 hours of disciplined practice. Another clue to talent involves tolerance for risk. For instance, the author shared humorous comics to his teachers in school. It was worth the risk. Your risk profile might predict my future. Childhood obsessions and tolerance for risk. Bail out quickly if something doesn’t work. This might conflict with what you have learnt, which is to never give up and overcome obstacles. The author left his email address on his comics so that others could provide feedback on how improve the comics. If you have the X factor early on, it will be more likely to catch on. The X factor may be that the public views it negatively at first. It has to inspire excitement. Watch what customers do about your idea or product and not what they say about it. If your product excites no one, then it’s not worth.

There’s a strong connection between what interests you and what you’re good at. – Scott Adams

People are naturally drawn to the things they feel comfortable doing, and comfort is a marker for talent. – Scott Adams

But my unscientific observation is that people are born wired for certain preferences. Those preferences drive behavior, and that’s what can make a person willing to practice a skill. – Scott Adams

Where there is a tolerance for risk, there is often talent. – Scott Adams

The smartest system for discerning your best path to success involves trying lots of different things – sampling, if you will. – Scott Adams

Should you pursue a career that uses your knowledge of photography and software, or something that uses your public-speaking skills and your gift for writing? There‘s no way to be completely sure which path will be more fruitful. – Scott Adams

Overcoming obstacles is normally an unavoidable part of the process. But you also need to know when to quit. Persistence is useful, but there’s no point in being an idiot about it. – Scott Adams

The pattern I noticed was this: Things that will someday work out well start out well. Things that will never work start out bad and stay that way. – Scott Adams

Don’t be fooled by the opinions of friends and family. They’re all liars. – Scott Adams

Is Practice your thing? Scott was able to coach a kid at 3 on how to hit a tennis ball through repetition. There are kids who like to be alone and practice themselves. There are people who don’t get bored of practicing. Do not practice something that has no economic value (like spinning a book). Craft a life plan based on your natural inclinations. The thing should have economic value as well. You won’t be a concert pianist or an NBA player. You don’t do well in other more creative professions. For those, every class is different.

My observation is that some people are born with a natural impulse to practice things and some people find mindless repetition without immediate reward to be a form of torture. Whichever camp you’re in, it probably won’t change. – Scott Adams

If you don’t like to practice, don’t waste time on a strategy that requires it. You simply need to pick a life strategy that rewards novelty seeking more than mindless repetition. – Scott Adams

Practicing is not living. But when you build your skills through an ever-changing sequence of experiences, you’re alive. – Scott Adams

There’s no denying the importance of practice. The hard part is figuring out what to practice. – Scott Adams

Managing Your Odds for Success. Pick a good system until luck finds you. It helps if you read books about success. There is no formula for success. Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success. You don’t need to reach world-class standards. For example, if you are good public speaker + you know powerpoint = good chance of managing your own firm. Good + Good > Excellent. The more skills you have, the better your chances at success. Simplicity trumps accuracy. Trick your brain into thinking that having more skills will be beneficial. Scott made use of the Internet very early. Read the topics that interests you only. Do not spend too much time reading bad news as it will affect your mood. Read to broaden your exposure. Read as a source of energy. Not everyone is rationale. Steve Jobs was not rational in his pricing but people still paid for it. A working knowledge of psychology always helps.

Your market value can be increased by being good (not extraordinary) at more than one skill. – Scott Adams

Successwise, you’re better off being good at two complementary skills than being excellent at one. – Scott Adams

The Success Formula: Every Skill You Acquire Doubles Your Odds of Success. – Scott Adams

If I told you that taking a class in Web site design during your evenings might double your odds of career success, the thought would increase the odds that you would act. – Scott Adams

When it comes to skills, quantity often beats quality. – Scott Adams

When I combined my meager business skills with my bad art skills and my fairly ordinary writing talent, the mixture was powerful. – Scott Adams

None of my skills are world-class, but when my mediocre skills are combined, they become a powerful market force. – Scott Adams

Another huge advantage of learning as much as you can in different fields is that the more concepts you understand, the easier it is to learn new ones. – Scott Adams

The Knowledge Formula: The More you Know, the More you Can Know. – Scott Adams

A smarter approach is to think of learning as a system in which you continually expose yourself to new topics, primarily the ones you find interesting. – Scott Adams

But I do think a working knowledge of psychology is essential to your success – both personally and professionally. – Scott Adams

The Math of Success. You need to figure out the odds. Are you clear about the odds in your life? Scott kept losing to his friend in tennis. He kept losing to a friend despite his standard of tennis was improving. Scott couldn’t manage the killer shots. Learn to find the blind spots in your life. He learnt to avoid the low-percentage tennis shots. See the world as math and not magic. When you fail, there is usually some pattern that caused it. Learn to figure out what is that pattern. It is important to keep brushing up on your skillset. There is a list of skills which everyone should be good at. They are 1) Public speaking; 2) Psychology; 3) Business writing; 4) Accounting; 5) Design; 6) Conversation; 7) Overcoming shyness; 8) Second language; 9) Golf; 10) Proper grammar; 11) Persuasion; 12) Technology; 13) Proper voice technique. Public speaking à He went for the Dale Carnegie course. During the course, there would be no criticism or corrections. Only positive reinforcement was allowed. Scott volunteered to go first. Everytime you spoke, you received compliments. Learn to be positive. People don’t have an accurate view of our potential. Psychology à most businesses require some knowledge of psychology. It is embedded in everything we do. Salespeople like to manipulate others by using psychology. It pays off if you use psychology in your decision making. A compliment from someone can help you in a long way. The author wanted to turn Dilbert into a feature film. Scott’s second restaurant failed as well. People like to compare your new work with your old work. If it doesn’t match up, you will receive criticism. One shouldn’t compare Dilbert with the Simpsons. They are so different in every aspect. Without Simpsons, Dilbert might have reached a new level. Learn about psychology and cognitive traps. Learn to know what you are vulnerable against. Make psychology your lifelong study. There are over 30 biases that the human mind is susceptible to. Scott did learn about hypnotists. Reasons are one of the factors in which people use to make their decisions. Sometimes, no reasons are necessary and people are irrational. Business writing à Learn to write with clarity and persuasiveness. There was some technique to this. Business writing is all about getting to the chase and getting to the point. Use direct instead of the passive voice. Passive writing adds up and causes reader fatigue. Use clean writing to be persuasive. Accounting à it is the language of business. Learn to create a cash flow projection. Design à We are all expected to know some form of designing. Design is rule based. Everything should conform to a few basic templates. Use the L-shaped layout. Leave one quadrant less busy than the right. Learn a few design tricks if you can. Conversation à Most people are skilled at this. Conversations can occur for many reasons What’s your name? Where do you live? Do you have a family? What do you do for a living? Do you have any hobbies/sports? Do you have any travel plans? Humor is not a good way to meet someone new. Ask people personal questions. Learn to fake social confidence. Look for something in common. Ask questions and don’t complain too much. Let others talk and change topic when you get stuck. Make the other party feel good. Smile and keep your body language open. If you are attractive, you shouldn’t talk too much. Be a master of short stories. It is good to have a backlog of stories in your bag. Learn to tell a funny story. Prepare before sharing a good story. Keep it brief. Fill in the story with characters. Pick stories that readers can relate to. Have a twist in the tale. Avoid topics like food, TV show plots, dreams and medical stories. Overcoming shyness à Some people are more naturally shy than others. Imagine that you are acting instead of interacting. Act like someone else. Fake your way past your shyness. Find out who are the thing people and the people people. You can learn it too. Always think that you can overcome your shyness. Learn to exercise your ego. Suppressing shyness takes practice. The more you put yourself in embarrassing situations, the easier it will become. Second language à It can open up your job opportunities. It is a huge competitive advantage. Golf à It is a good way for men to bond. It is a fairly universal activity. Golf is like a vacation for the mind. It is extraordinary. Golf is a great competitive advantage too. Golf is a great topic as well. Proper Grammar à If your grammar sucks, people will notice. Persuasion à you will use this very often. Keep reading books on persuasion. Some words are more persuasive than others. Use the word ‘because’. ‘Would you mind?’ tends to be well received. ‘I’m not interested.’ Is very good to shut the other party up. There is no need to offer a reason. ‘I don’t do that.’ is a very good conversation ender. ‘I have a Rule’. ‘I just wanted to clarify’. ‘Is there anything you can do for me?’. This is just between you and me. Not everyone is completely decisive. People respond to your energy levels. It is contagious. The craziest person is usually in control. Crazy + Confident people work. Is Persuasion the same as manipulation? No, not really. Technology (Hobby Level) à One needs to understand how the Internet works. Master it at a hobby level. It helps to have different vocal strategies. Learn to speak with proper breath control, tone, and mouth strategies. A commanding voice is highly correlated with success. Your body language etc will show your management potential. Women loved his professional voice. Learn to use a low voice. Breathe from the bottom of your lungs. Your belly button should be the one that is expanding and contracting as you breathe. Pick a tone. Penetrate noisy areas by using a high pitched voice. Posture is important as well. Use silence to substitute the ‘ums’ and ‘uhs’.

You can’t directly control luck, but you can move from a game with low odds of success to a game with better odds. – Scott Adams

The most important is the transformative power of praise versus the corrosive impact of criticism. – Scott Adams

If you see something that impresses you, a decent respect to humanity insists you voice your praise. – Scott Adams

Don’t assume you know how much potential you have. Sometimes the only way to know what you can do is to test yourself. – Scott Adams

You’ve heard the old saying that knowledge is power. But knowledge of psychology is the purest form of that power. – Scott Adams

Accounting is part of the vocabulary of business, and if you don’t understand it on a concept level, the world will be a confusing place. – Scott Adams

You can pay others to do your accounting and cash-flow projections, but that only works if you can check their work in a meaningful way. – Scott Adams

The technique (talking to strangers) is laughably simple and 100% effective. All you do is introduce yourself and ask questions until you find a point of mutual interest. – Scott Adams

I would go so far as to say that 99% of the general public love talking about themselves. – Scott Adams

If you’re unattractive – and this is my area of expertise – your conversation skills (with a stranger) will be especially important. – Scott Adams

But as with swimming, we can learn to overcome shyness with a little practice. – Scott Adams

If you’re a woman looking to increase your buying power in the dating pool, golf is a great competitive advantage. And you might enjoy it too! – Scott Adams

Being a good persuader is like having a magic power. – Scott Adams

Life is messy and you’re going to be right only sometimes. You’ll do everyone in your life a favor by acting decisively, though, even if you have doubts on the inside. – Scott Adams

Pattern Recognition. Continually look for patterns in life. Measure your chances of success. Successful people. Learn to imitate the successful people. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People are rather good. 1. Be Proactive; 2. Begin with the end in mind, 3. Put first things first, 4. Think win-win, 5. Seek first to understand then be understood, 6. Synergize, 7. Sharpen the saw by learning. The author came up with a list as well, here goes. 1. Lack of fear of embarrassment, 2. Education (the right kind), 3. Exercise. A lack of fear of embarrassment is what allows one to be proactive. Learn how to handle failure. You improve your psychological bravery. People with the right kind of education have almost no risk of unemployment. Good health is a baseline requirement for success. Sick people can’t get much done. Work brings extra energy and vitality. Learn to exercise 5 to 7 days a week. Success is a learnable skill.

I believe exercise makes people smarter, psychologically braver, more creative, more energetic, and more influential. – Scott Adams

Physical fitness and daily exercise are correlated with success in business and in life. – Scott Adams

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Quitter by Jon Acuff (Part 1)

Closing the Gap between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job

Don’t Quit Your Day Job. I hated my day job and the feelings of Monday mornings. I felt that my dreams were crushed. I had 8 jobs in 8 years. Many employees are also looking out for new jobs. The average tenure of a job is only 3.1 years for the younger generation. Now, we converted from stayers to leavers. We hate our jobs and only see work as a means to pay money to fund our lifestyle. We often feel that work is miserable and that it is possible to separate our work from our personality outside of work. Quitting your job is one of the worst things you can do. It sucks when you have a lousy boss and the only person he can manage is you. We always assume things will be rosy once we quit. All your financial responsibilities will creep up on you. Your wife will start arguing with you. You will get scolded if you watch too much TV. Quitting your jobs might throw your relationship into chaos. You can get to your dream job, but that doesn’t involve you leaving your day job immediately. When you don’t have a job, you don’t have a good bargaining tool to get what you want. If you have a day job, you can still reject shitty offers. The cost of raising kids is very high nowadays. I got to earn some cash speaking in front of a crowd. You lose leverage if you quit without a job. At the heart of a dream is change. People do not like change in general. Financial commitments are tight and inflexible. Stay true to your dream and do not quit your day job. People with jobs have more creative freedom than those without jobs. Once I started a diet, I realized that other aspects of my life was improving as well. Discipline begets discipline. Men need to work and need a project/ need progress at all times. Money issues are very sensitive. Humans need to work. We need to learn to be successful at work. Having a day job will stabilize your marriage.

The unfortunate truth is the escaping the land of bad bosses is just a fantasyland. The second you quit your bad boss you get dozens of new bosses. And some are more demanding than the one you just left. – Jon Acuff

You effectively lose that option when you quit. You lose that freedom when you jump without a net. You lose the power of the walkout or the shredded contract. – Jon Acuff

When you keep your day job, all opportunities become surplus propositions rather than deficit remedies. You only have to take the ones that suit your dream best. – Jon Acuff

Discipline begets discipline. When you step up to a challenge before you, your ramped-up resources rub off on other areas of your life. You wouldn’t think eating less ‘fat’ would impact how closely you monitor your family’s financial budget, but it’s all tied together. – Jon Acuff

Quitting a job doesn’t jump-start a dream because dreams take planning, purpose and progress to succeed. That stuff has to happen before you quit your day job. Often it should occur months and even years before. – Jon Acuff

Removing the ‘I’m’ From Your ‘But’. It feels sexy to quit. We usually label quitters as winners. This is the “I’m, but’ generation. This means that ‘We don’t know what we want, but this isn’t it’. People seem to know what they want to do without even trying that thing. There are ways to find out what your dream job is. For instance, one could work on personality tests. The truth is that most of us don’t know what our dream job is. So ask yourself, so what do you want to do? We often think that what we want to do is going to be a revelation. The author believes that it is more a process of recovery. Somehow, you lost it along the way. Everyday distractions are bad and divert us away from our dreams. Being busy is an excuse. Do not simply discount your dream. You will always meet people in your life who dismiss your dreams, who think that you are not good enough. Nothing can’t hurt you. Nothing is comfortable. Nothing is normal. We are embarrassed to share our big dreams. Don’t believe that you have no gifts in life and you have nothing. It is difficult to answer the question what do I want to do with my life because is a discovery question. Learn to look for hinge problems. Mercedes Benz redesigned the SLR range to appeal to the rich. They added a hinge to the ignition. You needed to open the cover and then press the ignition button with your thumb. It was like launching a missile. That made a tremendous difference to the car’s outlook and appeal. The lamination of your text makes it seem like you are a true published author. My dad also sent my book for publishing and that was great. My dad believed in me, that was one of my hinge moments too. However, most hinges are difficult to recover. Ask yourself the following questions to figure out hinge moments. 1) What do I love enough to do for free? 2) What do I do that causes time to feel different? 3) What do I enjoy doing regardless of the opinions of the people? 4) If only your life changed, would that be enough? 5) Are there any patterns in the things you like doing?

If you recognize that, if you admit that there is a chance that you are good, perhaps even great at something, you should feel a little uncomfortable. Because if your gift is not nothing, that means it is something. – Jon Acuff

A hinge moment occurs when you are planning to do something standard and normal, and then seemingly out of nowhere, a small detail usually hinges you in a different direction. – Jon Acuff

What Lies Between a Day Job and a Dream Job. Every dream has risk associated with it. When you stare at risk, you tend to make irrational decisions. We will now examine 3 risks associated with a dream. They are ‘The Magnifying Glass’. We blow things out of proportion. The next is ‘The Kaleidoscope’. Your dream is also connected to every aspect of your life. This is basically overthinking and thinking of all the worst case scenarios. The last fear is ‘The Telescope’. This is the best as you view from a safe distance and see the big picture. Risk is holding us back from pursuing our dream. Perfection is a real problem. This is because it tends to make you procrastinate and not do anything. Get organized and get things in motion. Perfect is not possible. This does not mean you should write half-hearted work. It is still better to pursue your dreams rather than leave it not pursued. Once you decide, just do it. We often like to say I could be so-and-so if I really wanted to. This leads to apathy. We ask ourselves ‘What if I try and I fail and it turns out I’m not really a writer?’ Apathy is about being a fake somebody. The chance of you failing to get your dream job and then rotting away and going to waste are extremely slim. If you do not attempt your dreams, you fail 100% of the time. We often say that we are too busy to pursue our dreams. However, most of us are also busy. However, everyone can set aside time for time management. Instead of time, learn to focus on the amount of tasks at hand. Financial foolishness is different from being committed to your dream. Do not take drastic measures. Money can be a huge obstacle if you are not careful. I hate the words ‘by now’. We say this when it is too late to pursue our dream. What if I did the wrong thing? Your past career can still teach you valuable lessons. Do not keep saying things like ‘It would be easier if …’ For instance, people say ‘It would be easier if I didn’t have a full-time job’. Having a lot of money will not save your life. Do not blame your kids, marriage for not being able to pursue your dreams. This is simply outrageous.

90% perfect and shared with the world always changes more lives than 100% perfect and stuck in your head. – Jon Acuff

Money will become a high-walled border around your dream if you don’t control it. It will limit what you can do and when you can do it, like a barbed-wire fence at a prison. If you can control it though, money can be a strong, stable place to jump from. – Jon Acuff

I know sometimes it’s scary to think that you might do the wrong thing. But let me assure you, nothing you do will be wasted. Every decision you make, every path you take, has the ability to contribute something you need to succeed at your dream. – Jon Acuff

We always assume that more free time will equal more productivity but often that isn’t true. I personally tend to get more done when I am busy. – Jon Acuff

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